tv Space Satellites for National Security Commerce CSPAN June 22, 2018 8:59am-11:25am EDT
we will do it. >> does that also go for compulsory proper for andrew mccabe? >> and that involves a few steps. first of all, feinstein and my agreeing to it and, of course, i want to do that and we are in some negotiations with her on that. but then he goes to the justice department to see that it doesn't interfere with any of their potential prosecution. and then i think another step that's not so regular is i think we need, and when working through his lawyers on this, to have a conversation of what he can contribute to our oversight. because if he can't contribute anything substantial, there's no point in going through it. >> but provided that conversation result in a a positive outcome, you would be recommending immunity. >> was yes. >> you can see the entire interview with judiciary
committee chair chuck grassley friday night at 10 p.m., and on sunday at 10 a.m. and at 6 p.m. on c-span. you can also hear it on c-span radio and watch it online at c-span.org. >> this morning you strategic command general john hyten, nasa mr. jim bridenstine and sector wilbur ross will be testifying utilizing satellites in space for commerce and national security. this is a hearing of the strategic forces subcommittee armed services in the house. it should be getting underway shortly. live coverage here on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] ..
[inaudible conversations] . [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. i want to thank ranking member barrett for cooperation to discuss space situational awareness in the whole of government context. i also appreciate the members expressed by the house armed services committee and committee on space and technology more broadly and ask unanimous consent that noncommittee members can participate. and any objection? hearing none, so ordered. noncommittee members we recognize appropriate time for
five minutes. given we have an extra panel of witnesses and lots of member interest, i'd ask to include into the record statements and extra inyus-- extraneous material. the honorable wilbur ross, gerald bridenstine, no stranger to this room or this subject matter, administrator national aeronautics and space administration and another person no stranger to this room, general john hyten, strategic command. i'll turn it over to you for your brief opening statements and then we'll roll straight into questions. general hyten, start with you. >> well, thank you, chairman rogers, smith, ranking members cooper, barrett, johnson. distinguished committee members, it's an honor to be here with secretary ross and administrator bridenstine. it's kind of difficult not to say congressman bridenstine, but he's on this side of the
table, which is interesting. so, it's always a privilege to be here and it's a privilege to represent the 162,000 americans that accomplish the missions of my command every day so i had a he like to thank both committees for enduring support to your nation's defense and in particular, if you're working on the international space policy. my command, strategic command is a global war fighting command which sets the conditions across the globe, four mission is to deter strategic attack and employ nuclear space, joint electronic work forces as directed. to do this we rely on timely and accurate information about the operational environments we operate in. space is one of those environments and it's no different that i any other. it's how we bring together the data needed for space control and guess adversary intentions.
our national security mission demands we make the environment as safe as possible to operate in and that's led to current sharing arrangesments. today we take our space data awareness and make it available for space safety. it's not a mission of strategic command or the department of defense and i never believed the department of defense should have to perform space traffic management for the world. we do that because we need to do that. i've been advocated to moving the space safety to another agency and in the department of defense, elements of the situational awareness needed for national security. i believe that transition is a good idea and i take the actions that president took on monday, it's the right move and commit to work with the administration, the department of congress and the congress, department of commerce and congress to meet the president's space traffic management goals. so thank you again, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to be here. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general.
i recognize administrator bridenstine. >> chairman cooper, chairman smith, chairman bowden ranking member-- or ranking member cooper and-- [inaudible] >> chairman rogers, i should say, ranking member cooper and ranking member barrett, it's great to be back. it's an honor to represent nasa here before the strategic forces subcommittee and the space subcommittee here in the house of representatives. nasa has, of course, very important equities when it comes to space situational awareness and management. we have a human space flight program and we have dozens of satellites that are delivering critically important science for our nation and in fact for the entire world. so, we have a big stake in making sure we get right space situational awareness and space traffic management. for objects baying big enough to track, we don't do the tracking ourselves and we don't keep a catalog ourselves, we
rely on strategic command for that, but the data that we receive from that, we analyze closely to make sure that our human space flight activities and robotic space flight activities are protected and remain safe. so this is critical for us. objects that are too small to track, nasa has a department, the orbittal degree program office that's responsible for characterizing that orbittal debris and we characterize it so we can model ultimately the risk from these very small pieces of debris that are not trackable and the biggest risks are from objects that are not trackable. that's the biggest part we deal with every day when it comes to protecting our assets in space. and so, we characterize, you know, with are these debris fields are, and ultimately, how they could impact our missions and make assessments, how much
do we need to invest to shield our assets and/or maybe operate in different orbittal regimes. so, this is important to nasa. i look forward to working with this committee and i look forward to following the implementing, i should say, space policy directive two, and space policy directive three from the president to give the new activities to the department of commerce. with that, i look forward to working with everybody here and thank you for having me. >> thank you, mr. bridenstine. secretary ross, you're recognized. >> thank you chairman, babin, cooper and berra and both subcommittees allowing me to address you today. i would also like to thank chairman lamar smith, chairman thornberry, and ranking members johnson and smith, your work on this important issue. your continued support of of this administration's space
policy vision is greatly appreciated. in addition, i'd thank my esteemed colleagues, general hyten and administrator bridenstine for joining me on this panel. it's a pleasure to work with all of you. decision makers, leaders, enablers of u.s. space commercial and defense policy. your work is imperative to the future achievement and well-being of the united states. the trump administration and the department of commerce are creating more opportunities for the space community to develop and thrive. in just six months president trump has signed three presidential space directives. the first calls for human expansion across the solar system. it's about time. the second sets a schedule for streamlining regulations to
unshackle commercial activity in space. commerce is already advancing ambitious regulatory reform. over the last year we have worked with department of defense, state, department of of interior, and the director of national intelligence to reduce commercial remote sensing application timelines by about 50% from where they were before. we've cut what was 210 days down to an average of 91 days. the president's third space policy directive signed at this week's space council meeting establishes the country's first comprehensive national space traffic management policy. the directive emphasizes safety, stability, and sustainability. foundational elements to
successful space activities. and it names commerce as the new u.s. government interface for space traffic coordination. this new policy directs the department to provide a basic level of space situational awareness data for public and nonpublic use based on the space category compiled by the department of defense. this change will better enable dod to focus on its national security mission. commercial is eager to provide that service to industry, to facilitate continued commercial development in outer space. as the friend to business agency and not a typical old-fashioned regulator we are the perfect agency for the job. unlike in past generations,
activity in space is becoming largely commercial. commerce already engages with private space companies on export control, spectrum issues, remote sensing licensing, and trade promotion. and we already manage with nasa's great support, the government's largest operational civil satellite fleet. 14 noaa satellites and four for the air force. we also have the national institute of standards and technology, which has a proven track record of working with industry to conduct research, and to define scientific standards for business needs. we're looking forward to taking on this new role of space traffic coordination. the need for timely and
accurate and actionable ssa data and sdm services has never been greater. dod currently observes well over 20,000 objects circling the earth, many of which are softball sized or larger pieces of man made space debris. these objects fly around earth at dangerous speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour. about ten times the speed of a small bullet. even more concerning are the estimated 600,000 smaller objects that could still cause significant harm if a collision 0 he occurred. congestion in space will only increase. in the next few years, the number of american satellites in space will likely grow from
800 to over 15,000. as more and more objects get launched, the effective space traffic coordination and orbittal debris mitigation standards will help promote our earth's orbit from further congestion. with the growth of space commerce and dod's focus on national security, president trump and the national space council, determined that commerce should become the new civil agency interface. with this role, commerce can incentivize innovative space services based on an open architecture data repository. this repository will establish a mechanism for ssa data sharing that will enable, enhanced stm services that will
empower greater industry provided data and services. involvement by industry, academia, and other stake holders is paramount to the success of this endeavor. and it will take a whole of government approach to face this challenge. working with nasa and dod, commerce is committed to facilitating these discussions and implementing their results so that the united states can provide global leadership for space traffic standards. america must continue to be the leader in space. space traffic coordination is an important task and commerce has dedicated serious deliberation and planning in its execution. we have an excellent
relationship with our partners and we will continue working with them to carry out the implementation plan approved by the national space council. the administration is setting clear milestones and will be transparent about achieving them. commerce takes on this new responsibility with several goals in mind. we will be dedicated to creating economic growth and sustainable development in all industry sectors. facilitating space traffic coordination will provide the space industry with more tools to be successful. commerce will also work with industry to find ways to enhance space traffic coordination data and be more adaptive to industry concerns. working with dod, we'll involve
the architecture that currently supports u.s. strategic command to be even more responsive to the space industry's needs. and we look forward to working with congress to protect a safe space environment for future commercial growth. with commercial at the helm of commercial space traffic coordination, we will ensure that the growing space industry remains open for business and america will continue to be the flag of choice for space commerce. i'll be happy to respond to any questions you may have. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary and thank all the witnesses for being here and for those thoughtful opening statements and what you do for our country. i'll recognize myself for the first set of questions. general hyten, on the spags policy i want to make sure i'm
clear on this. i think you touched on the opening statement. given that space is clearly a war fighting domain, are you saying that you don't believe that this unique dod, ssa requirements could only be met by the military, that they could be met by nonmilitary efforts? >> i really need to be specific on that because we have to do the space situational awareness mission, inside strategic command, inside the department of defense for the missions that we have to do for national security space. >> that will continue. >> that the will not change for the future because we have to know that information to defends ourselves against potential threat. and that's why we did this in the cold war days to begin with. we don't have to be the public face for the world. that's what the new decision is to have the department of commerce be the public face to the world. >> that's what i want to make
clear and i appreciate that. >> mr. secretary, you're right about the activity up there. in addition to this roughly 620,000 pieces of debris that you and the administrator have talked about, we have a lot of activity going up and going to continue to be that way. you talked about 600 or so, 6 to 800 satellites now and going towards 15,000. i know of boeing and spacex in this country, that are each talking about putting constellations up for broadband capability. could be 2 or 3,000 salts, small sats and an indian company a couple thousands. that's going to proliferate and i'm very concerned how we're going to manage that. tell me exactly how you see this working as far as that traffic management and more importantly, the debris mitigation that you made reference to? i had a he--
i'd open that up for either one of the two of you. >> well, we already are dealing a lot with some of these issues through noaa because of its satellites so we have people already somewhat familiar with this sector. we have planned to send the initial delegations out to vandenberg, out to omaha, to start learning more about the specifics that would be involved and we're prepared to dedicate people to that and have people from those entities also working at commerce so that we make a seamless integration. hard to predict exactly what the timeline would be, but it's probably something more or less on the order of a year to make a seamless transition between the two. >> do you anticipate
cooperation with countries like china and companies therein and companies in india that are also going to be concerned about this activity? >> well, yes. we, as you know, have a very international map to both our activities and our physical presence and parts of our activity, such as the ita, the promotion entity that has created some $3 billion of space business already, nist works with just about every country in the world in evolving standards and standards and getting them agreed with other countries is clearly a very important part of this activity. >> mr. bridenstine, how does debris mitigation work? i don't have a clue. >> a couple of things, you mentioned earlier, chairman
rogers, there were going to be these constellations of potentially thousands of satellites in lower area of communication, that's true. and we have the space debris organization community. when this committee hear about interagency, we think of the u.s. government. we're talking about space agencies around the world and this interagency committee includes 13 different space agencies across the world, and what this organization has determined is that every five to nine years, if launch cadences stay the same and orbytal is the same, we will have a collision similar to the y y yurridium that we'd seen.
we've seen the opposite, launch is going to happen a whole lot more frequently especially if i'm successful doing my job as a nasa administrator. and so these kind of collisions beeget more collisions so we have to be careful that we don't eventually let this run away. i'm not saying that we're close to that right now, but we need to be thinking the next 50 years, 100 years down the road especially as we take more advantage of space. as far as how nasa deals with it, you mentioned the word mitigation challenges. know to set standard from keeping new orbittal debris from occurring. during the launch and they're at the upper stage, sometimes there is debris. we set as an agency to limit that kind of activity so we prevent or limit as much as possible the danger from space debris. those standards then ultimately get promulgated through the
rest of the interagency through the u.s. government so the department of defense follows those standards. noaa follows the standards and other agencies that utilize space and eventually to the point now the standards are, you know, required for commercial operations as well. and of course, promulgated throughout the international community. so, nasa has led on this. i will be clear that not all the countries follow the same standards. and so, that is often a challenge. but i do believe it's important for us to lead and that those standards could eventually get to a point where there's enough international pressure that around the world, countries will have to follow those standards. thank you very much. i recognize ranking member cooper for any questions he. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i, too, would recommewelcome th witnesses. and i appreciate mr. bridenstine's chart and the debris program. i'm worried that the chart
underestimates the testimony. we have 100,000 pieces of tiny debris to monitor because each one of those pieces could be deadly. >> that's right. >> and all the witnesses said the problem is increasing and probably increasing exponentially. as we're off-loading the priceless work that they've been doing for space management, we're entering the acute phase, urgent phase for the entire planet as secretary ross pointed out, a lot of the result of the debris is the result of just two collisions, just two and now there are going to be thousands, perhaps thousands of collision possibilities and as the secretary also pointed out in his testimony, each one could lead to a devastating chain reaction of creating yet further debris, which could tax the power of even the fastest super computer to monitor all
the orbits and trajectories and speeds and things like that. so, simple question, should we punish nations or companies that cause satellite debris? it's one thing to use carrots. are we also going to consider sticks? to each of the witnesses. >> ranking member cooper, within the outer space treaty, nations are responsible for what they do in space. there is a liability that nations have for these kind of activities. unfortunately, if you look throughout history, some very nefarious activities have happened in space. we've talked about, on your subcommittee, we talk about the 2007 direct dissent, anti-satellite missile launch of china that hit one of their own satellites and created a debris field that created thousands of pieces that we're still dealing with today in
lower orbit. the challenge that we have is enfor the at the international level. it's a big challenge. so certainly we have seen activities change based on international pressure. but we haven't seen, really, any enforcement as far as liability, anybody paying the price for the damage that they've done to lower earth orbit. >> let's make it a u.s.-only issue. should we finish a u.s. company that causes needless space debris? >> that's a -- that's a good question, sir. i'd like to take that for the record and maybe get back to you on what a good approach on that might be. but certainly -- and i think you're aware of this keenly -- we want to maximize the utility of space. we want commercial companies to have access and availability and if they are not, in fact, following the rules, we could deny access to space for everybody altogether, which would undermine our ability to
maximize the utility of space. so there should be some kind of legal regime, yes, sir. >> my time is limited with the other members here. and nasa currently has a statistical model to track the 600,000 pieces. how do you tell a satellite company or worse, an astronaut they died or killed because of a statistic? people will want attribution. if you have enough data to form the model then there must be some reasonable source for that data. so we've got to figure this out. 600,000 pieces you're tracking today could be tens of millions or billions shortly. >> yes, sir, attribution is critical and some of the new technologies that are being developed right now are could-- a piece of orbittal debris to a specific nation or country, that's a challenge going forward. >> thank you. chairman babin, any questions
you may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, witnesses for being here, too. secretary ross, i had a -- i'd like to start with you, if you don't mind. start booing stating my support for the space policy directive three and while i'm in it, i support one and two as well. in congress, we have a responsibility to protect the taxpayer. government spending and bureaucracy is a serious concern, however, not improving the nation's civil space situational awareness and space traffic management frame work is unacceptable. what steps will be taken to protect against unnecessary spending and how much funding will be needed to carry this policy out? >> thank you for that question, sir. the-- this activity will report to the regulatory reform officer at commerce and as you may be aware, we have already
dismantled 65 regulations, which is more than any other cabinet department. so, we're keenly aware of the importance of reducing bureaucratic burden, both in terms of direct taxpayer expense and in terms of the burden unnecessarily placed on industry. so that that will be one of the activities we have very, very much in mind. . >> okay. thank you. and then the next question for administrator bridenstine. nasa has substantial technical expertise relevant to improving space situational awareness and space traffic management. for example, johnson space center's home to the world renowned orbittal debris scientists. under sd-3, how will nasa leverage its expertise to further our national ssa and stm efforts?
>> it's a wonderful question, chairman. so, under state policy directive three and the implementation guidance, nasa is directed to lead a research and technology effort to take advantage of capabilities that we have and make improvements on capabilities and technologies. i think our biggest area of focus historically has been investing in characterizing, you know, the orbittal debris population that cannot be tracked because it's too small and assessing risk based on that orbit tal. and space policy three will give us authority to ultimately make investments to do space situational awareness or potentially creating an environment-- kind of the way i see nasa being involved. i'll start over. kind of like nasa does aero
systems, we don't want to be involved in doing unmanned aero and integrate uav's into the air space. that's not the job of nasa. we can do technology demonstrations and pilot programs, we can do research and ultimately take what we've learned and hand it over to the f.a.a. the way that nasa is dealing with unmanned traffic system now. and maybe we'll be doing technology and ultimately handing it over to commerce which will have the lead on space traffic management in the future. it is also true that nasa will not be creating data. that's ultimately not what we do. of course, the air force, or i should say strategic command creates data and that could be provided to commerce.
it could be provided to commercial partners and then the data that commerce has would be augmented probably also with commercial partners, and what nasa can do is ultimately test a lot of technologies, test the data and ultimately implement a plan to help commerce lead the effort. >> great. okay. thank you. and then general hyten, the dod and in particular the air force has proposed a significant increase in their space capabilities with the fy 19 budget. would you talk a little bit about these capabilities that this increased investment will provide and how they will enable your-- enhance your war fight be mission? >> mr. chairman, i'm a combatant commander, so the question, the specific answer can come from the air force, but as a combatant commander, i have the capabilities and very aware of what the air force put
into budget and i'm pleased with the improvements the air force has made in the budget because those improvements come in a number of different ways. for the purpose of this hearing, a lot of those improvements are in space situational awareness. the air force now has a joint program with the national reconnaissance office, silent barker, instead of two different programs, there will be one. that one program will improve our situational awareness in a significant way and we're producing the space fence. the space fence will come on-line in 2019. that capability will allow us to see hundreds much thousands of objects that we don't see today. that data will be critical to our mission in the department of defense, but we can provide that to the department of commerce in nasa to allow this broader piece to happen. broadly speaking what you see in the budget is improvement of our ability to defend ourselves against threats in space. what you see is a change of our architectures from a large status quo structure approach
to a more resilient survivable capability that can defend ourselves in the future and you see in the classified world, a lot of work being put to make sure we have the ability to defend ourselves if we're attacked. >> and right along the same lines, how will the establishment of a civil ssa program at the department of commerce benefit dod and continue to protect national interest? >> we talked about the iridium collision, i was the investigating officer of that collision and one of the things we realized and the general, strategic command, i briefed him and we kind of came to the realization we're going to have do this flight safety mission ourselves and we had to talk about a hundred airmen, 100 million people off of other missions and put them on that in order to do that mission. now we've become a little more efficient as we've gone through the years because we've been able to improve our automation
and capabilities, but we still have dozens and dozens of airmen who do that all the time. when we move that now into the department of commerce, we have to do the job for ourselves, but we'll be able to focus on the war fighting missions. that's what we get out of this approach. >> finally, secretary ross, space directive number three states that basic space situational awareness and space traffic management services should be provided free of direct user fees, and just to clear up some concern and questions, what services are considered basic in and what are some examples of services that go beyond basic? >> well, thank you. we could use the same definition of basic services as has the news historically. we don't see any reason to change that.
but a major function will be an open architecture approach to it. commerce was directed to build that under spd 3 to incorporate dod, the nasa information, with information from international partners and commercial operated data. so, it will be a two directional set of communications, and that will create an enhanced space situational awareness picture. >> and how about the basic? what is considered-- what would be considered beyond basic? >> well, the idea of open architecture. right now there's not an open architecture, it's a one-way communication channel. we think there's merit to having inputs with information from international partners, as we do right now, with the
national weather service. we coordinate with lots and lots of other government entities in other parts of the world. when we're-- and that's a very important part of our activity. >> okay. thank you. and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman recognizes ranking member barrett for any questions he may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman and obviously, this is incredibly timely hearing. before i ask my questions, i also just want to be clear that we've not made a decision, this body, congress, as to where space situational awareness should be happening so that is not an administrative decision, that's a congressional decision and secretary ross with all due respect i don't want the department of congress-- or the department of commerce to start making those plans because as is being raised in each of the testimony, this is incredibly important as we go
forward. i think it is important for-- you know, under the leadership of both chairman as well as science, space and technology, i know chairman smith, chairman babin. ranking member johnson we have been talking about this quite a bit and we've got to get this right, it's not -- better to get it right because this is the 21st century. we have to make sure that dod has everything it needs to continue to do the important work of protecting our vital assets in space. and as administrator bridenstine has pointed out, we don't want to stifle innovation in the commercial sector. we don't want stifle the interest in the international community, but we want to do this right and we do need that for lack of a better way of describing it, air traffic control cop is going to, you know, put everyone in the right lane and to the best of our
abilities, prevent accidents from happening in space. you know, it really does have the possibility of transforming what the 21 he -- 21st century looks like. and this body that has oversight over, you know, what situational awareness looks like in the 21st century, i appreciate the interest of the president and vice-president, space counsel and your interest, secretary ross buff -- but we've got to do our work and we're not advocating that responsibility. secretary ross, if we are looking at housing situational awareness within the department of commerce, you know, there's a lot that has to go into this transition. what kind of resources necessary, what kind of oversight, how do you share information that only the department of defense is
probably going to be able to see? how do you make that publicly available. how do you make that internationally available? i'd ask, are you prepared through your department to present an implementation and transition plan to congress and to this body? >> so, we certainly would, if and when we're authorized to undertake the function, but we already, as i mentioned, we dissem mate to the -- disseminate to the public, 45% of the information from the administration. we're very used to packaging information, getting it know the right place, getting it in the right format for people to use. and one example is space weather is, as you know, a very major factor in this whole situation because of the impact it has on things that are orbiting around. well, we're already keenly
involved with space weather through our space satellites that are part of the national weather service. so, we're already into that aspect of it and in a very good position, for example, to integrate that with these other activities. >> well, great. and as my colleague from colorado, who has helped push space weather bill through congress, it might sound really geeky or wonky, but incredibly important since all of the technology that we rely on, gps technology, et cetera, not just our military, but everyday consumers and individuals, general hyten, we've put a lot of responsibility on the ddod and the air force and the dod has done a wonderful job kind of monitoring and it is time that, you know, we relieve you of some of that burden for the
international and the commercial sector. yet, from my perspective, as we go through this transition there still are going to be uniq unique capabilities that the dod has and only the dod should have. we'll have to think through how that information gets passed on to nasa or to commerce or the department of transportation. as you're thinking through this, do you have any thoughts of what we should be thinking about as a deliberative body? >> a couple of thoughts. so, i think that from the largest perspective we have to make sure that as we go forward in the future we always have the ability to make sure we understand what our adversaries are doing. that means we have to have an exquisite situational
awareness, that's why you have taxpayers dollars to be put against this problem. as we go into this different sharing arrangement, though, i think the first rule that comes to mind is the first rule, you don't let go of the strut until you have a good hold of the next strut. which means we can't let loose of what we have now and what we're doing until we know what is on the other side. sdp 3 says the department of defense is responsible for providing the authoritative catalog for our country, that means the catalog will come out of the department of defense. now we have to push that into the department of commerce and nasa and other places and we're going to look with open eyes how we do that, what is the way we do that, are there better ways to do that. i think you'll see during the coming year of different ways to do it, but again, don't let go of one strut until you have a hold of the next one. >> i share that sentiment. let's hold onto that strut and
think in a deliberative fashion what this looks like and think through the different scenarios and come up with the right decision. better to be deliberative about this and get it right as opposed to being hasty about this. and administrator bridenstine and good to see you on that side of the podium. i know we share a mutual interest in allowing the commercial sector and recognizing the importance of of space, but i think we also share a value and i think all of us in this room share this value that the world is best served with american leadership and you know, that that translates to space as well, and you know, i do think, you know, in how we look at the world, you know, nasa is going to be critically important as we address this frame work as it's not just the domestic issue, this is an international issue and get this frame work
right and then take it to the international community so it sets that frame work. do you have any thoughts what we should be thinking about? >> absolutely, ranking member bera, and this goes to the heart of what chairman babin was talking about, what is basic situational space awareness data. it's clear in spd 3 and guidance, without fee. as you mentioned american leadership here matters. so, we need to have, in my view, some basic ssa data available for free because when people around the world are making investments, making determinations where ooh they're going to invest their money to do space activities they're going to make that determination in the united states of america because we will have a regime that provides safety and security for their investments and at the same time, is without fee. so, that's attracts capital to the united states, it keeps us
in a preeminent position. now, there will be debates about the fact that some people would like to see commercial companies, and this is-- this would be a good thing and i support it, some people would like to see commercial companies providing the space situational awareness and we could have congress could license commercial companies, and before you launch you have to prove to congress that you have purchased or bought a subscription to one of the commercial companies providing ssa and sdm. so that's a model you'd have a competitive market, provide more data and better data with multiple providers, all licensed by congress, but at the same time we get back to what is the basic without fee. and this is going to be a balance. ultimately we want people to make investments in the united states of america and at the same time we want a commercial competitive marketplace where
the providers of ssa and stm. they're competing for more data and better data at a lower cost, driving down insurance rates and all of those kinds of things. so this is not going to be an easy thing as you've already identified, but here is what i think all of us believe, it has to be done because what's at stake is so important right now. >> great, with that, i'd yield back. >> thank you, i recognize chairman lamar smith for any questions you might have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, let me say that it's gratifying to see the cooperation and collaboration between the two committees that has resulted in this hearing today. this may be a first and it's certainly the first in many years and i hope it will be an example of further cooperation between our committees. second of all, it's nice to see a former member of the science space and technology committee as the new administrator of nasa. and jim bridenstine is the right person at the right time
and the right place and it doesn't happen that often, but it's nice it happened here. >> thank you, sir. >> and so, jim, good to be with you: secretary ross, let me direct my first question to you, and i think this will help a number of members here. would you go into some detail as to why you think the department of commerce is the best agency to oversee the space traffic management? >> yes, sir. first of all, as you know, we have elevated all of these space activities within commerce into the office of space commerce, which reports directly to me. so, rather than being fragmented, rather than being buried in different parts of the department, we're pulling it altogether. that in and of itself will make it more functional, less bureaucratic than it had been.
in terms of specific things that we can do, the ita has the statutory duty, as does the department of commerce, to assist in this burgeoning space industry. the national institutes for standards and technology which has a very proven record in developing standards and having them adopted throughout global economies will be very, very involved. ntia, which manages federal spectrum use through space communications will also play a very important role in it. and then noaa, as you know, it already overseas the largest operational space force in the private civil sector. so, those are some of the experiences that we already
have. notwithstanding, we continue to engage with our partners at the department of transportation on a variety of issues and we will be working quite intensely with nasa on the one hand and with dod on the other hand. so, we already are planning within the next couple of weeks to is end, as i mentioned, delegation to omaha and to vandenberg. so we're trying very hard to figure out the proper way to integrate ourselves. >> okay. >> the other thing that you should be aware, many companies that don't need a license actually put a camera on their payload anyway to get the license for remote sensing from commerce. and the reason they do that is it deals with their compliance
with the outer space treaty. so, here you have companies volunteering to come under the regulatory regime of the department of commerce. and i think that speaks volumes about the degree to which the industry feels we make and work in very good unison together. >> thank you, mr. secretary. administrator bridenstine, the nasa has had a long and strong relationship with the department of defense and as you've mentioned, and should the department of commerce take over the space traffic management, is your relationship with dod going to chaek change one way or the other and what would be nasa's role in dealing with the department of commerce in some issues that you've been dealing with the department of defense. >> that's a wonderful question. so even right now, nasa has folks at the j box looking for
data inside. and that's happening right now, and if there is a nasa asset that could be at risk because of a-- because of an object that's being tracked, those orbittal safety analysts ultimately take that data and get in touch with one of two people and they go straight to johnson where they report it to the trajectory operations officer, we call it the topo, you know, at johnson space center. and then they do further analysis to determine if that object could ultimately put the international space station at risk. that's what they're specifically looking for. if it does, what do we do about it. that's on one hand. on the other hand, some of the data goes to cara over at goddard for the robotic capabilities, but i guess my point is to your question, the answer is yes, we have a great working relationship with the
department of defense. we have our nasa personnel working side by side with their folks, feeding data to our centers to make sure that our assets are protected and i anticipate that that will continue as general hyten has side, when we move to a day where commerce is at the he hellm-- helm, they'll keep the catalog, so it's possible that nasa would have our personnel. no decision has been made and maybe we could take the data from dod and combine it over at commerce and international at commerce and get an integrated space picture at a different agency. not that that would necessarily happen, but it could. if it did happen then we would want our folks over at commerce and probably keep them at dod as well. but, again, this is way early and undetermined at this point.
>> thank you, administrator bridenstine. and general hyten, let me ask my last question to you. and it's just been mentioned both by the administrator and by congressman bera a few minutes ago about the catalog of space objects that users use to avoid collision in space. if the department of commerce takes over that responsibility and others that are now assumed by the department of defense, can you see any diminition if they take over? >> i think that the line in space policy direct 3, in the catalog, the reason it's there, you haven't can arguing catalogs. you can't have one in the
department of defense and end up arguing. we had one done by the navy, one done by the air force and it's not helping to argue over which is better. you have to take the best data and build that catalog. the authoritative catalog will be in the department of defense and we'll feed that in the department of commerce. they can take other pieces to do the interface with other nations, with the commercial sector, possibly with nasa. i would envision what congressman briden-- i did it. administrator bridenstine did as the-- i would see it at vandenberg, have international partners, commerce, nasa there, and feed information into commerce, into nasa. i think that's the healthy way, but like secretary ross said, we're still in the early days of figuring this out. >> still, that clarification that you just mentioned, i think, is very reassuring to us, and it portends a wonderful relationship between dod and
the department of commerce. thank you, mr. chairman, yield back. >> ranking member johnson for any questions you have. >> good morning, let me welcome our witnesses and thank you for your service. general sthe obama administration had considered agency roles and responsibilities for the civil ssa data and information services and had reached an interagency agreement that f.a.a. with that role. i understand that they were going to do a pilot program at f.a.a. and civil engineering services. what would that pilot program
have entailed and what are your thoughts on a pilot program as far as the internal data sharing to the civil agencies? >> so, thank you for the question, because it's important that we kind of go back in history a little bit to look at that. 'cause i've been working in this world for over two decades, 1998 i transitioned to mission-- weather mission out of the air force into the department of commerce. for the last ten years, really, since iridium cosmos collision 2009 i've been working hard in the interagency to try to figure out where to put that mission because it's not inherently a dod mission. so in the last administration we were working with commerce and transportation. f.a.a. was going to do a pilot program and that pilot program would look at what it would take for us to shift the catalog into that organization and for them, what kind of analysis tools and pieces would
they have to do that information. as we transition this information in the spd 3 that just came out. congress is going to take the lead on that based on burgeoning commercial sector. from the stat com perspective, dod perspective, bluntly, it doesn't matter to me. we need a civil agency that is doing that role. commerce makes sense, transportation makes sense, that's a political decision. i think that secretary ross has made a good argument today of why commerce is probably in a situation to do that. i will work with whatever element that our nation decides is the right place to do it and spd 3 makes it clear that commerce right now is the lead. so, in the next few weeks we will be working with closely with commerce. if that changes, i will work with whoever it takes. >> thank you very much. any other comments on the panel
members? >> yeah, can you repeat the question one more time? >> the question that i had posed is about the program, pilot program that had started with f.a.a. being the lead. >> right. >> and if there had been any information that's transferrable. >> so, i think some of the arguments are that, especially commercial industry would like to one-stop shop. and one of the challenges we have right now is that it's-- from my perspective, it looks very difficult to find a one stop shop because you've got the fcc responsible for spectrum. and noaa for imaging, that kind of regulation. f.a.a. responsible for launch and reentry and of course, nasa is responsible for giving advice on, you know, protecting the space environment when it comes to orbittal debris and even, you know, preventing harmful contamination of
planets and things like that. there are a whole host of agencies involved in space at different levels. the question is how do you create a one-stop shop and it's increasingly difficult all the time. and this is the key that, ranking member johnson that we have to recognize. how do we create the maximum regulatory certainty with the minimal regulatory burden and if we can consolidate these activities in one federal agency or another, that minimizes the regulatory burden for the commercial operators especially. ... . >> on the american space commerce free enterprise act and
supported it in the subcommittee and the full committee. which i was on the other side of the aisle here. the skey is i think it needs to be done. the think commerce is ready to do it. >> thank you. do you have any comment? >> yes. well, a couple of things. commerce already has many space industries facing resources. by statute, we are obliged to foster growth. second, we look at remote sensor activities through the commercial remote sensing regulatory office. third, we manage federal spectrum through the national telecommunications and information administration. fourth, we manage space rather
data collection and distribution through noah. fifth, we enforce the export administration regulation as they apply to space objects through the bureau of industry and security. sixth, we promote u.s.-base industry abroad through the international trade administration. and, finally, once the play load is separated from the rocket, it's usually a different owner. the launch system is very different and it's usually a different entity from the one who has the pay load. so there is no continuity between launch and what goes on once the pay load is in outer space. that pay load often is not -- comes under our orbit in any event. i hope that explains why we think we're quite logical. >> yes. yes, sir.
what agencies now within federal government that currently carries out the research on ssa and the orbital debris, and to what extent are those activities coordina coordinated? >> ranking member johnson, nasa, of course, does a lot of the research and the technology. we really kind of set the standards that ultimately get followed by the other agencies. so nasa is very involved in it. we partner with universities and with commercial industry to come up with the best practices and the technology and the research. and so we -- when it comes to the snt piece of it, nasa really takes the lead. >> i recommend johnson, we have a lot of probability in the defense to agree with that. but i would agree that nasa is the lead when it comes to the snt into that. we take most algorithms and incorporate into what we do.
we have to be able to characterize that which is why we still do research in that area. >> thank you very much. just one final question. how could this work be leveraged in a civil pralings -- operational sac system? >> so ultimately the idea behind ssa and stm, if we want to be as safe as possible, we need more data and we need better data and accurate data and the ability to process that data. and so when it comes to science and technology, which is what nasa does, those are investments that we make. we want to be able to get more data, better data, and be able to process it in a way that ultimately gives us a much more safe environment and then take that and hand it to the agencies that actually do ssa and stm. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> i think the chair now recognizes general from colorado. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for all the chairman for putting together this great hearing and thank you to the panelist for what you're doing for our country. i have one question for each of you. general hyten, a lot of the data standards work is done at colorado springs at air force space command. so how will this policy protect that tremendously important work? >> so the work that we need in order to characterize threats will continue and will continue through stratcom, through my joint base commander who is also the air force base commander in colorado. he has the people that do that work. that work will continue. it has to continue. i think what will change as we look into the future. this is just a natural progression as we look at the domain that we will have to partner closer with not only nasa and the department of commerce, the department of transportation, but the commercial secretary as well, because there's a number of
certain number of commercial entities that actually do this mission. and they have capabilities that we need to be able to leverage as well. so it can't be that one size fits all. we have to take the best degree from wherever it comes and provide the best we can. following on to what administrator bridenstine just said about the data. most of the data comes from the air force. most of the data comes from the department of defense. we'll ship that into multiple places, though, and people can use that data to produce better products. and i think if we do it right, we'll get benefit out of that in the department of defense because the folks that do that business will learn from others doing it as well and will apply the best practices in the business that we have to do in the military. >> okay. thank you. oh, and i see the clock is working now. [ laughing ] >> so i guess i better hurry. administrator bridenstine, we touched on this already with other questions previously. but do you believe that
utilization of best of breed commercial processing software for enhanced foundational ssa for nasa to avoid a potential catastrophic debris collision with the international space situation -- station is the best way to go? or where should that software come from? >> that's a great question. the answer is to the extent -- and, of course, this is in the future. we're not there yet. but to the extent that we have a regime to do space swalings awareness -- situational awareness and instead in a civil entity, there are different ways it could be organized. and, of course, one of the ways it could be organized is it could be done by personnel supervisors, in fact some of which exist right now for today. the space data and there are other companies providing data
that feed the comspock and the data. these can be done commercially. they can be done privately. the question is going back to what general hyten was talking about earlier is who controls, who manages the data set, the catalog that is definitive. and ultimately can it be enhanced with commercial and those kind of things. one model, as i've said earlier, is you could have multiple commercial companies and/or non-profits or universities competing to provide ssa and stm to space operators. and the reason you want competition is because it drives down price, increases innovat n innovation. again, you get better data and more data. that's a process that works. and ultimately the people that pay would be the operators. it's also true we have to balance this with the idea that we don't want to drive people to
other countries for their space situational awareness by having people in the united states pay for subscription or pay for fees. so this is a balancing act. we want the united states of america to be pre eminent when it comes to ssa, stm. and at the same time we want to have commercial capabilities that give us more data, better data, and a xeft -- competitive environment to drive down cost and innovation. so it's very early in the process. it's something we really need to think through. and i'm happy to be a part of it. >> okay. thank you. i was going to ask you secretary ross the same question in just a few remaining seconds. do you want to address that and then i'll yield back the balance of my time. >> well, i agree very much with what the administrator has just said. there are ultimately models that could be used. but at the end of the day, somebody in government needs either to do it or to license the private sector to do it.
so either model in concept could work. but you still need a government interface. i don't think it's an activity that should just be level unbrideled to the private sector. and i think everybody up here will agree with that. >> i agree with that, mr. secretary. >> okay. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman. recognize new jersey five minutes. >> thank you, chairman, for coming together to have this discussion. and it's good to see a member of task as the administrator of nasa. certainly the questions that i want to follow-up on are ones that we've all been walking around. we talked about the assets. the assets of collection where the ground base to space state. who ultimately will be the decider of those assets? who is going to purchase them? who is going to look into them? and when that decision is made,
i will assume most of these things are going to have to go through the department of defense first to say what is sensitive nature and who decides who makes that decision whether or not this information gets released to the commercial side. so, a, the assets. who is going to make the ultimate investments. i've heard you talk about the commercial side. but ultimately we don't want duplication but it all goes to the department of defense. so ultimately who makes that decision and who pays for the assets. if we could start with general hyten. >> i'll start congressman. so i believe if you look at it as a building block of capabilities, i think the baseline capabilities is in the department of defense. the department of defense will have to pay for that baseline. that baseline is what we need in order to understand what our adversaries are doing in space. >> highest and number one priority? >> that is the number one priority. and then we -- then the bill for
that comes to the department of defense. we have to pay for the sensors, the ground sensors, the space sensors, and the processing that allows us to do that. now, that's the baseline. but it doesn't talk about the interface with the commercial sector. it doesn't talk about the interface with otherwis. we've been making that up. literally making it up for nine years now. we need to have a structured process and that's where the commercial sector can come in and the department of defense comes in. they can bring in other sources of information. other capabilities that can do that. they may decide that there are other sources from the international community that they can bring in. i would hope we have a partnership where if they bring other sources, they'll feed that into our algorithm so we can take acknowledge of that too. we'll have to work through those issues. but i see there's a baseline building block the department of defense is responsible for. and then the department can build on top of that for other applications and other needs.
>> would you ultimately have veto power if there is a piece of information that is coming from the commerce side over to you. >> is your microphone on? >> yes. >> hello. >> there we go. >> you ultimately have veto power. what information gets released? >> i think veto power is maybe too strong a statement. we're not going to have veto power. this is the way it would work from the department of defense perspective. the algorithm that we use that processes all of this information that comes in, it's exquisite information. and we're going to take commercial, international. we'll take all of the information that we get. but, believe it or not, some of it is better than others. some data is better than other data. and the algorithms will be able to tell. so if the data that we get from whatever source is deemed not as good and not providing the most accurate answer, we won't use that data in our solution set.
that's why it comes back to the authoritative catalog is the key. the authoritative catalog will take all of the best information. at this point in time from my perspective, all data is good. and then we'll mathematically decide what is the best data. >> and then on the commercial side is where you would make those decisions? >> so there -- there could be capabilities where a -- somebody who has maybe a commercial radar or a commercial telescope that is creating their own data that they could actually get data that the commerce department might not have. or they could get data that even the dod might not have. and then they can share that data with either or both. so we don't want to limit the idea that only the government can do it. we need to have partners that can share. one of the challenges sometimes is that when you think about international data, they might not want to give it to strategic xhant command. they might be willing to share data with commerce.
so that's the reason -- another reason we need a civil authority doing this rather than simply the department of defense. it's a lot like nasa, as a matter of fact. a lot of countries around the world don't want to partner with the united states air force because we are a separate space agency capable of doing science and technology apart from any kind of military capabilities. >> where you would allow the private sector who was doing this also in through those doors. >> absolutely. and a lot of that private sector might be more than happy to share the data with the department of defense or others. and, in fact, they already do in many cases. >> i hope they would share. but i can't guarantee that. >> i yield back. thank you. >> thank you, gentleman. recognize gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you very much. and this is very gratifying that we have an administration that is clearly committed to focus on space and what we can utilize
space for and what dangers are and what the potential profit and benefit is. and especially that when we have a secretary of commerce personally engaged, this has got to give a whole new energy to america space efforts. and i'm very proud of each and every one of you and proud of our president for also stepping forward in this way. i believe that we have reached a tipping point in space besides what i just described. and that is we have now reached a time in space where we have capabilities of doing so much more than what we're doing today. and the private sector has -- it has the possibility of doing so much more because of our technological capabilities. but at the same time we're reaching the tipping point where space debris may get in the way of us achieving that goal. so that's what -- this is the
first step that i've seen that we are taking space debris seriously. and that will open the door for some of these other great potentials that we have. we have whole constellations in the private sector being proposed for remote sensing and observation that could be very profitable businesses. but we know that unless we come to grips with this space debris challenge, they will not be going up. let me ask you this, and i appreciate the fact that we were now talking mainly about cataloging and bringing in even the private sector for helping us catalog the problem and make sure we know what the problem in defining what it is. but have we given any thought to actually having the private sector once it's cataloged doing something about it, meaning actually having a private sector
help us in extracting and taking some of this space debris and bringing it down, just like the assets of the panel. >> congressman, the answer is absolutely yes. of course, nasa is very involved in making investments right now to do robotic servicing of satellites in orbit, which would be an absolute game changer. and when you think about the constellations that are going into orbit for communications, we're talking about thousands and thousands of satellites. what we don't want is each one of those satellites when they become defunct, we don't want them just becoming a piece of space junk, right? we need to be able to, a, service them, or, b, deorbit them. and i think there are good plans under way for that. but to the extent that nasa is making these investments in robotics, it's not just for servicing. it could ultimately be for -- the kind of activity you're talking about which would be remediation. getting objects out of space. but that has to become, as you
mentioned, you want it done commercially. i think that would be beneficial to everybody. the way it becomes available commercially is ultimately to do robotics for servicing of satellites. have half a dozen, maybe even a dozen different companies, each with their own constellations of a dozen or more satellites doing robotic servicing. once they're in orbit doing this activity commercially. because, again, they're doing it to serve customers that are providing, you know, direct tv, dish network, internet broadband from space, they're doing it for those purposes. well, then, while they're there, they can do remediation and the united states government can actually pay for that service. so this is an architecture that needs to be developed. nasa is making investments, like i said, in the robotics. we're making investments in autonomy, propulsion capabilities that can have a specific impulse but can keep us -- our satellites active for a very long period of time. so navigation. of course, the sensing that's
necessary to do ultimately the approaches and rendezvous and proximity. so we are absolutely right now making investments in that activity. when it's going to be sufl -- sufficiently mature to move out on what we're hoping to do, i don't think we have an answer at that time. >> all of you are laying the foundation towards the next step. and without this taking care of this challenge, we will impede all of the other great things that humankind is capable of. so thank you all. and, secretary ross, especially thank you. and the general is out protecting our country in so many ways. and this is part of it. and secretary ross, you're the guy who is going to oversee commerce in the united states. and, you know, this industry, the aerospace industry is a tremendous asset to our country. and we're relying on you as you're showing today to take
leadership and keeping that a major part of our economy. >> thank you, sir. >> all right. god bless. >> jim, yield back? >> yes. my time was up anyway. >> recognize mr. poleman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlem gentlemen, thank you for your testimony today. i just want to sort of get back to some basics just so i understand the terminology here because we're talking about space situational awareness which seems kind of wonky and traffic management. so, general, from your testimony, i understand you, the air force, department of defense would be, in effect, in charge of the space situational awareness with your monitoring capacity, is that right? >> the space situational awareness is a mission for the department of defense, and we will continue to do that mission.
but it's interesting when you relate it to space traffic management. the reason we started doing the space situational awareness, it was the foundation of the space when i started this business 30 years ago. we did it for space control. but when we started attaching space traffic management to it, we started thinking the catalog was to enable space management. that's not what we do ssa. we do ssa to help defend ourselves against threats. and to have somebody else responsible, department of commerce in this case, it would allow us to get back to using our ssa mission to focus on our space control mission which is the essential piece and somebody else will be doing the space mission. not that we don't have a role to play. we do. but that's not our focus. >> but that's your main -- your main role is to just catalog and gather all of this information which then you will share with nasa and with the department of commerce and other important agencies? intelligence agencies, whatever they may be? >> exactly.
>> so, mr. secretary, let me turn my questioning to you. so under this approach that's come out of the space council and from the administration, commerce is in charge of traffic management. and so that is a concept that's not so hard for me to understand. because i just think about, okay, who is the law enforcement. you know, who gives the tickets. you know, who tows the abandoned vehicle. who plows the road. how do these kinds of things occur? and some of it is going to be commercial and some of it will be regulatory. i mean, is that how you look at this? >> yes, i do. and as you probably are aware, we already have very extensive collaboration and cooperation with the department of defense in our export control activities. because those interface both with national defense and with our job as being the ones to
find people who are violating sanctions on countries or who are planning to export military-sensitive materials. so we have a pretty well established vocabulary of how to deal between the department of defense and ourselves, and this will just be another addition to that. and i agree with what the general said. one size doesn't fit all. they're going to have to be adjustments as we go along. and the technologies will evolve. new space ventures will evolve. you're going to get into lunar habitation. you may very well get into asteroid mining. all kinds of activities. >> so i'm kind of -- i'm comfortable with -- i mean, somebody in this hierarchy has to take the lead on if there is a collision. you know, whose insurance pays for it. >> right. >> you know, that kind of thing. and mr. administrator, you and i have had this conversation
several times. what are your thoughts just sort of -- just the basics of this. >> yes. a few things. as a pilot, if somebody says to you on the radio call signs turn right 030 defend main 10,000 feet. you do it. why, because if you don't, it's illegal, and you could possibly die. so that's why you do it. right now in space, nobody has authority to compel you to maneuver. they can tell you -- either the department of defense, the strategic command can tell you it's a good idea, but they can't tell you to do it. so that's the difference between space situation awareness and ultimately space traffic management. one of the problems with space traffic management is if you compel somebody to maneuver, you could be burning four months of their station keeping fuel just to prevent them from having a collision. and the best we can do these days in some cases, not all cases, but in some cases, the best we can do is there's one in 10,000 chances that your
satellite will collide with another satellite. are you going to burn four months of station keeping fuel and give up four months of potential revenue as a company in order to avoid a one and 10,000 chance. now, the answer is you're probably not. but when you think about the catastrophic consequences of not maneuvering, should that one and 10,000 chance occur, you can deny access to space or at least make it more problematic for, you know, generations to come. so this is -- this is a big deal. there has to be some agency that's capable of doing that. again, i want to be clear. because this makes a lot of space operators nervous. we want an absolute minimal regulatory burden with maximum regulatory certainty and safety. >> but there has to be some kind of management. >> yes. >> and i agree with that and i yield back to the chair. >> thank you. now recognize mr. brooks for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. forgive me for diverging from the primary focus of this hearing. but it occurs to me that each of
you has significant persuasive influence on where the new space command will be headquartered. so i'm going to touch on that for just a moment. in that vain, i hope you will help make a finalist in the space command headquarters debate. red stone arsenal has a lot to offer. we have related two space commands, either related a lot or related a little. the following space command activities. united states army aviation and missile command. aviation and missile research development and engineering center. peo missiles in space. united states army space and missile command. army forces strategic command. the united states missile defense agency. defense intelligence agency missile and space intelligence center. nasa's marshall space flight center, which is the home and birth place of america's space program. a wealth of intellect talent. engineers. we have the highest
concentration of engineers in the united states of america. physicists, mathematicians, scientists. in conclusion, i hope you will concur that red stone arsenal space command seem like an excellent fit. now, with that sales pitch behind me, let's go more to the substance of this particular hearing. i do appreciate your indulgence of and i know you all have persuasive influence on the ultimate outcome of that space command location debate. i know that the department of defense has done some interim work with the federal administration on ssa. with respect to jim bridenstine's space renaissance act from last congress that put the one-stop shop for commercial space at the department of transportation, not the department of commerce, what would be your insight -- your perspective on where we're looking at now?
>> great question. as you just recognized, i have in the past sponsored legislation, authored legislation to have the one stop shop be at ssa, ast, especially taking ast and making it a direct report to transportation, specifically to the secretary. so that was legislation that i ran a couple of years ago to really force the conversation about this kind of activity and how important it is. now, i would also tell you as a member of the science committee space subcommittee specifically, i have voted multiple times on the american space commerce free enterprise act which puts this at commerce. so my views on this, of course, have shifted. but i think more importantly than anything else, it has to be done. and it doesn't -- to me it doesn't matter so much where. just the fact that we don't have time to waste anymore. and if we get caught in whether
it's a parochial issue or a jurisdiction al issue among committees and this thing gets held up for a year or two, we're at risk, especially when you consider the large constellations that are going to be put into lower orbit. i think secretary ross has made a compelling argument for why it should be commerce. i fully support that. and i'm ready to move out on it. >> general hyten, a question for you. but first a comment. it's always good to see someone with the success that you've enjoyed from my home town. so any time you have a chance to come back, we have over 100 generals to retire there. i'm sure you'll be welcomed at the time that time comes. >> are you trying to retire me? >> this question is for you. what is your assessment today of the department of commerce's ability to manage these authorities and do they have the proper resources and personnel needed to manage these authorities? . and if not, what is your opinion on what is needed to get them
there? so i guess if it's a yes, no question, they don't have all of the things they need to do. but secretary ross realizes that and he has committed inside the international space council, he has committed to me at breakfast this morning that he's going to identify the right people if he has to go down this path and put these people at this job. his folks have been unbelievably transparent and helpful in defining what this would be. they've been straightforward. so he does not have all of the issues he has -- or he'll need to do that job in the future. he is committed to making sure he identifies those and working on those. >> with respect to secretary ross and general hyten, of course jim bridenstine, i happen to serve on the -- i'm vice chair of the space committee of sst, and i'm also on the strategic forces committee of house armed services committee. so if there's anything i can do
to help ensure that the house has the resources it needs, please let me know in wearing one hat or the other. mr. chairman, i yield back the re marnd of my time. >> i thank. i recognize mr. lams for five minutes. >> thank you. first question for you. you mentioned a couple times that you thought that if we took the lead on ssa in the united states and developed a better system through the department of commerce and worked with private enterprise that that would actually give the united states a competitive advantage when it comes to firms. would you give us an idea how that works. i'm sort of picturing if what we're doing is making data available, why would that give firms the capability to locate in the united states. >> great question.
the idea is we have companies that are international investing in many cases billions of dollars into constellations that will be in lower orbit. and those companies are going to be looking for opportunities to protect their investments. how safe of a regime are they going to have and certainly they're going to want access to what the united states has to offer. now, it is absolutely true that given the current regime that exists right now, the department of defense through stratcom ultimately provides space situational awareness and conjunction into the analysis of the entire world, and they do it for free. and they do it for free because we have to protect the space doma domain. i mean, if you look historically, the department of defense got into this because they were trying to protect national security interest. it's still in america's national security interest to prevent collisions and more orbital debris in space. but i do believe that if the united states of america has a regime that could be commercial
and it could be led by a civilian agency, that a lot of companies all over the world are going to want to establish american companies to get the absolute best data for the protection of their billion dollar investments or $100 million investments. big investments. and that, i think, is good for america. it grows the economy. it helps the balance of payment and our trade deficit. and i think that's a big piece of what we ought to be doing. it also could lower insurance premiums if they have access to that data. >> does that -- does that place the onus on us then to make sure that any data sharing from the civilian agency with private firms would be dependent on that private firm having an american presence essentially? >> so there's different levels. we talked about having basic ssa data that would be necessary for safety in general. and then there's data that could be made available from commercial operators that would
provide an enhanced level of protection, if you will. and so finding that right balance, i think, is important. because we want to have a competitive market where we're trying to get more data and better data. but as everybody here has agreed, it is inherently governmental. because ultimately it's in everybody's interest to protect space. so we have to have that civil agency that's responsible for it ultimately. >> thank you. general hyten, i just wanted to follow up on a point in your testimony about our adversaries, other countries, even allies making increasing investments in space at the same time. can you talk about any of those to the extent you're able here that should concern us or that make the space more xeft -- competitive than we might realize. investments being made by other countries. >> so both china and russia have invested enormous amounts of national treasure to build
capabilities for the sole purpose. ground base capabilities, space base capabilities, a variety i can't go into in this hearing, but enormous amounts of their treasure going for the sole purpose -- it's not for something going on in the western pacific. the sole purpose is to encounter the united states advantage in space. and for the commander responsible for defending the nation in that domain, i have to look at those capabilities as real threats. and that means i have to develop counters to those threats, which is why the first thing i have to have, just like in any other domain, is exquisite awareness of what is happening in that domain so i can respond quickly enough. that's the same in air, land, sea. it's the same at space. >> are they spending more than us in any of those domains, general, but more than this the past? >> i can't go into the
specifics, but in certain instances they are spending more. our capabilities are so huge, enormous, powerful that the capabilities they have really can't impact us today. but what we have to make sure is that ten years from now, 20 years from now, that is still the same. that is the challenge. >> thank you very much. and thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> i thank the general. at this point we're going to pause for a minute while we very much appreciate the secretary ross and his participation in this hearing and it's been very helpful. he has been called to the white house. so we're going to excuse the secretary and take any further questions for him for the record and allow him ten days to provide a written response to the member who has a question. and with that, thank you, mr. ross, and you're excused. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> okay. the chair now recognizes a gentleman from louisiana mr. higgins for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentleman, thank you for your service to your country.
administrator bridenstine, you displayed a tremendous amount of common sense, which makes it very clear why you're no longer in congress. [ laughing ] >> you gentlemen have provided excellent testimony and very fascinating time in our history of mankind where space has clearly become a theater of engagement militarily while at the same time is a new frontier for tremendous expansion of commercial activity. we have models like this, of course, throughout the history of man there's never been a theater of engagement that did not include civilian commercial activity, be it by land, sea or air. so the models of the past as they -- as they help us to plan for the future, i believe we're
on the right track here. because a dod needs to handle defense and warfare capabilities and any theater of engagement. and to divest itself -- now, it's understandable why over the last, you know, several decades dod has become deeply involved. it's obvious that cataloging activities in space because of the responsibility of recognizing space as a theater of engagement, it's understandable why this is happening and got to this point where dod is doing a tremendous amount of activity that pulls it away from warfare capabilities. and it makes sense that at this juncture, we would divest some of those responsibilities to the appropriate agency. so with respect to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, i believe what we endeavor to
determine with absolute certainty is which civilian agency is appropriate to relieve that burden from dod? so it's been suggested, and i'm leaning, yes, to concur that the department of commerce is that agency. so, general, is this -- is this a good idea? is this a win for america and for the defense of our nation? >> so congressman, this is actually a great day. probably should have said that early on. because this is a day that we have been looking for for a long time. because we decide -- we've had interesting dynamics. the first time you see a collision between the first of debris and a chinese satellite, what are you supposed to do? well, i remember that
conversation and the commander saying tell them. you know, we don't want a collision to happen. but how is that a department of defense mission. and so we started a long time ago trying to figure out how do we do this differently? that shouldn't be the responsibility of the department of defense. we shouldn't be forcing our airman and soldiers to make that kind of decision. that is clearly other elements of our government. so we've gone back and forth where it needs to be. the administration has decided commerce is the place, secretary ross has jumped in and said i'm the guy. let's go ahead and do that. i'm all in with that. i'm all in. i think that's the right decision. we just ought to go. the administrator bridenstine said the same thing awhile ago. we had to just go now. it is the time. we can't waste anymore time. >> i concur, administrator. would you comment on that question. >> here is what i would like to share. i think it's an important philosophical debate.
but when you look at the expansion of humanity, whether humanity is crossing the atlantic or crossing the continents from, you know, east to west or expanding into space, if you will, it's all driven by commerce. and philosophically, if we're going to go further, it's going to be driven by commerce. and the resources that are available in space are, quite frankly -- they're limitless. and so commerce, i think, should take the helm here for that basic philosophical reason. the other thing that's important to note is that space is transformed all of our lives. and we are now dependent on space in ways we've never -- a lot of americans don't recognize how dependent we are on space. the way we navigate. the way we communicate. the way we produce food. the way we produce energy. how we do disaster relief. predict weather. monitor the climate. the way we do national security and defense. all of it depends on space. in fact, the gps signal is required for banking. if we lose the gps signal, that
changes -- in fact, it could be catastrophic for our country. if you lose the gps signal, you can't do banking. the next thing you know, there's no milk in the grocery store. civil unrest. that's a huge challenge. so here is the important thing going back in time when you think about the history of naval power, for example. alfred thayer mayhan was a great they' theorist. commerce threats in that happening. our entire way of life is dependent on space and our -- not enemies necessarily, but our competitors know that to thwart our way of life. so if commerce is important for the power of nations as alfred mayhan said back in the 18 hundreds, then defending that commerce is important as well. and we're protecting that commerce. which is, again, why i believe it is perfectly legitimate and good that commerce take the helm
of providing space situational awareness and space management. >> gentleman, you present a compelling argument. my time is expired. i go back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and in response to your invitation, i have a question for secretary ross that i will submit basically noting my curiosity about as we transition to this new plan. since i don't see anything in the fy18 and 19 budgets to help the department of commerce finance that how they plan on addressing it. but i'll submit that in writing. if i could turn now to my fellow oklahoman and the administrator. first of all, i promise i will provide the most intense insight of your life for the rest of your career in that role, which will be an awesome experience. just taking care of my former oklahoman concerns. since this summer is the anniversary of the legislation that created your agency when
the eisenhower administration and our predecessors in congress determined that we need today have a civilian perspective on space exploration. as we talked today what commerce is going to do and the continued important mission of the department of defense, where do you envision nasa actually playing as these issues evolve over the coming decades? >> so nasa is an agency. we do discovery and exploration. we do science. and, of course, we're not involved in national security space. we're not involved in defense. but certainly we want to make sure that our assets are secure. and that's when you think about space situational awareness, space management, and the fact that we have humans in orbit right now, we have to be very aware of the space environment and the risks that it poses to our astronauts. so i like how you framed it
chairman lucas that in 1958 eisenhower created nasa. he did it with an expressed intent that space exploration not be part of the department of defense. he wanted it intentionally separate. he wanted a peaceful agency that could partner with the rest of the world in making civilization changing discoveries. that was his objective. and what i would say now is we don't necessarily want space situational awareness and space traffic management to be a department of defense specific issue. certainly they're going to do that, but they don't have to do the conjunction analysis and warning for the entire world for free. and not to mention all of the commercial operators as well. so i think it's important to have a civil agency capable of doing that, just like eisenhower envisioned for nasa back in 1958. >> general, some 30 plus years ago i had a conversation at a public event with a colonel who
was an officer in i believe what is probably your organization now 30 years back. and as a non-public official i spent a little bit of time asking a variety of questions and being in vis tif and he is one of the most cautious, methodical officers i've ever seen. he said absolutely nothing. but i finally asked him a question and i'll ask you a question. the same question i asked him. how do you sleep at night? 30 some years ago he said i sleep very well at night. how do you sleep at night with your responsibilities? >> i sleep very well. >> thank you for the answer i wanted. >> one comment on that. it's important. the reason i sleep well is i mentioned in my opening statement because i have 162,000 of the best and brightest that america has to offer that do the job every day. and they actually do the work. i don't do any of the work. they do the work. and because they are out there deployed under the ground, under the sea, in the air, operating
in space, that should allow you to sleep well because it allows me to sleep well. >> and that's the exact point i wanted you to make, general. because the general public does not have an understanding or an appreciation for all of that. and for 30 plus years, this important role has been fulfilled. again, thank you. >> yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you, gentleman. recognize the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and just say to the administrator welcome back. we are honored that you're in the role you're in. we'll miss you here. you are the right person for this position at this time. and we are honored deeply that you are in that role. >> thank you. >> and welcome back here today. >> general, let me begin with you. just in light of all of the conversation today, how do you prioritize the competing interest and needs between dod, commercial and ssa requirements?
>> so it goes back to the discussion of the building block. so the building block, the essential building block from my perspective is our national security. and so that is the first thing that i have to worry about. do we have enough information, enough situational awareness to allow me to exercise the authorities and responsibilities that have been given to me for the strategic command and defend our nation in space. that is the first priority. that is the priority that the united states department of defense has to pay for, has to understand, et cetera. we have chosen over the last nine years to pay for kind of the rest of the world. po both with resources in manpower and money to provide that kind of collision warning, swition al awareness for the world because we realized after the cosmo
inclusion in the world, if it occurs, it's bad for the security of america and security of the world. nobody was doing it. we said we can do it, so we did. but ever since that time, we've been looking for the structure that will allow us to just focus on our national security mission than have somebody else do that. somebody else also pay the resources for that additional function. not above the baseline. we still have to continue to the baseline. but all those other pieces are from that. now, the space policy drefkt -- directive three does make the department of defense step up and do that. and secretary ross said he's the guy. he's going to step up and do that. and that's what we in the department of defense have been looking for for the number of years. so we're happy with where we are right now. >> so are you saying the department of defense will be the top priority followed by ssa and commercial? is that kind of -- >> well, from an ssa perspective, not from a space traffic management perspective. >> okay. >> space traffic management should be somebody else's job. but we have to make sure we know
what is happening from space situational awareness allowing us to defend ourselves in space and defend ourselves against any adversary that might challenge us in space. it just so happens that that information is also what is needed for space traffic management. but we'll give that data to somebody else to process, to do the analysis, to reach out, to reach out to nations, reach out to companies. we have been doing that, and we've been making it up. and i'm pretty proud of the folks that have been making it up because it's a miracle to me we haven't had a collision. but we -- that should be somebody else's job. >> then in light of that, how much currently -- how much manpower and resources and so forth do you use when dead indicating efforts -- dedicating efforts to negotiate the ssa agreements with commercial, foreign states and so forth. >> so for negotiating with ssa agreements, it's been very small. >> okay. >> it's four or five people on
my staff that do that work. and that's not their only job. they have other jobs that they do as well. but that's one of their additional duties is to focus on that. >> okay. >> the biggest impact, though, is the people that actually have to do the work. the processing. that number is in the dozens. that's what will be off loaded to significant numbers that will free them up to do what i believe is the real war fighting missions. >> okay. so in freeing that up, you would be able to better utilize it for defense purposes? >> exactly. >> mr. administrator, let me -- i heard you bring up earlier -- and let me just ask you this. how will the trend that is currently under way for small satellites affect ssa capabilities and beyond? >> that's another great question. so every orbital regime is different. of course, we have a lot of assets in lower orbit. we have a lot of assets in
geostationary orbits. those are two orbits that are critically important, and they'll require space situational awareness and space traffic management regime that's very different than a medium earth orbit or an orbit that's below low earth orbit. you know, sometimes i've heard people make the argument that it ought to be below the international space station in order to not necessarily be regulated at all with stm or ssa. that if you're below the isf, you're going to be deorbiting just based on the trace atmosphere at that level within five to ten years anyway. so we don't really need a regime. so what i would say is it's not necessarily the size of the satellite that matters. what matters is where that satellite is positioned and the different orbital regimes are going to have different kind of requirements for where they're located. >> okay. again, thank you, both gentlemen, for all you do. we're honored.
i yield back. >> chairman yields back. chair now recognizes mr. mitchell for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. first major bridenstine i want to congratulation you on becoming the administrator. >> thank you. >> your department and committee gave you the opportunity to join the committee. congratulations. and i'm warming your chair, i guess. >> you are indeed. thank you for doing that. >> it's an honor, sir. a question if you could relate to officer ross and submit to the committee. you would advocate as well that this is a situational awareness or traffic management go to the fc ffa. and the ffa is currently involved in that they certify launches aircraft that are launched in this process. can you share with me how much involvement the ffa has been involved in this process as this transition is going on. and i'll ask the same question of secretary ross as well. >> sure. so i don't -- i'll be honest, i've been in congress until about seven or eight weeks ago.
so i don't -- i wasn't part of all of the negotiations that got to the point where we were ready to announce std3. so i do know that faa was involved. there were meetings in the national space council where this discussion was had. how robust it was and who said what and when, i'm not 100% sure. but i can tell you that everybody is in agreement that i've talked to that this has to be done in a civil agency. >> agreed. >> and, you know, commerce is a good place to do it. it's also important to note as secretary ross noted that commerce is involved in space in a robust way already. you know, a lot of people don't realize the nasa oceanic atmospheric is space-related activities. that's controlled by commerce, and ultimately they make purchases for those activities and nasa is involved in buying a lot of their satellites or at
least doing a lot of the requirements generation and then the activities that are necessary to acquire those satellites. so nasa is involved in that. but it's a commerce function. it's also important to note that commerce is involved in remote sensing licensing and that kind of activity. so there's a lot of -- a lot of activity that are done both in commerce and the faa. a couple of years ago when i drafted that bill, you know, my thought was we'll put in ffa and take everything and put it in an ffa. it appears now that the right course of action given the consensus that has been come to is that it be a commerce. and i fully support that. that the key is it needs to be done. that needs to happen. >> i agree. it does need to be done. one of the questions you have, as you well know, is space and commercial faa type traffic isn't a clean division. there's clearly -- and i talked to several folks. >> that's right.
>> there's an overlap of that. how do you reconcile -- maybe, general, you have some feedback. how do you reconcile that or make that work? >> i'll take it real quick. there are a lot of things here that are critically important. as you mentioned, if you're going to get to space, you're going to have to go through the national air space system, number one. then when you get to space, eventually you're going to have to potentially deorbit if you're lower orbit. >> sure. >> and so in each of these cases, you're going to be taking advantage of the nasa air space system. one of the challenges we have right now is when a launch occurs, the national air space system for geographic region gets shut down for a number of hours and commercial air traffic has to go around it and it costs a lot of money and puts a big burden on industry. we want that to shrink. so whether it's launch or a whole host of other activities, commerce is going to have to work with faa and vice versa. and so these things have to be really well thought out. and we need to prepare for them. but that's going to happen regardless of where it is.
commerce and faa are going to have to work together to make it happen. >> agree. my concern was i admit i'm on the aviation subcommittee. >> there you go. >> so i look at it. i didn't see here and i would encourage some description of how we accurately engage with the faa on this. because i think there is not just launch but, in fact, failure of a launch. that area needs to be close to all of the risk and factors affect that similar aviation or that air space now. >> yes. >> do you have anything you wish to add? >> i agree with the administrator. the key there when it comes to space, every element of government is involved. some in big ways, some in small ways. which means there's always going to be themes. so the way you handle themes is with clear authority and responsibility. and the authority to the secretary of defense is defend the nation. the authority of commerce to promote commerce. now, you have to decide for this space traffic management, where is the best place to put the authority. the administration inside the department of commerce is the
best place to put that. but that doesn't mean the faa still has a role. the department of defense still has a role. nasa has a role. we're all going to have roles as we go through. but we have to align -- because if you don't, we'll keep doing it. >> i appreciate that. i would suggest maybe a little more clarity and with secretary ross those what those themes are and the role of the faa so we don't end up losing something there i think would be critically important. i appreciate your answers and i yield back, mr. chair. >> thank you, now recognize mr. buyer for five minutes. >> thank you. gentleman, thank you so much for being with us all morning. mr. bridenstine, i'm very impressed with the many things nasa is doing in the space. the new space prints, radar. the nasa orbital debris engineering model that pre tickets what is coming in the -- predicts what is coming in the next 30 to 35 years. the new debris legend which looks like what the environment is going to be like in the next
100 to 200 years. space has ever become more crowded and ever more dangerous. >> absolutely. so to just to be clear, space fence is not a nasa project. it's a dod projects. >> okay. >> but we certainly will benefit from it. i am a little concerned that we're going to learn about souch space debris that our astronauts are going to be sheltering in place more than they are right now. in fact, we haven't done that since 2015. it could, you know -- once you know what you need to be worried about, you get more worried about it. . . .
it's a project we have underway. that is called restore and we will service a satellite which is a good project but ultimately if you want to robotic servicing away beneficial to a country and game changing we need to develop robotic technologies that can be licensed to a dozen companies and each of those companies could have a dozen satellites in low-earth orbit doing service on satellite. when we get to the position that is possible that we could hire some of those commercial companies to remove orbital debris. that is certainly within the realm of possibility and a futuristic kind of thought of futuristic thinking about how to deal with the orbital debris population. >> if you look at that 35 35 y, 200 years, i'm working to such a mankind will put ever more debris up there year after year. >> that too. it is also true the biggest risk to omission in low-earth orbit, the biggest risk is some objects
that been too small to even track. we can kind of create a statistical model as to what the environment looks like and create probabilities about how long i felt like an last in low-earth orbit given the pelting ever received from debris and i'm at shielding that might need to have. we can create those models but the biggest risk is some objects we can't even track right now. it's going to be hard to remove them if we don't know they are there specifically. >> you have a hard science background with your triple major at rice. is there any value to the orbital degradation of the stuff or is it just too small to have the -- >> a lot of -- they do degrade exposure and low-earth orbit. the gravity of the earth is not uniform and so we see a lot of these objects behaving in ways that sometimes are unanticipated. i know the doctor was here a few
minutes ago from university of texas. he talked about the fact that a lot of these objects in space that are not trackable or the objects that are trackable, we modeled them as if they are all perfect spheres, and they are not. we modeled them as if they don't then or maneuver, and they do. we modeled them as it the earths gravity is perfectly uniform,, and it's not. there's a lot we need to learn about orbital debris and how it behaves so that ultimately we can get better data to ultimately make predictions and characterizations that can protect our assets and property. you are hitting some very key points, which it is a dangerous environment. we need to do the best we can o characterize that environment and ultimately we need to be able to detect objects that are smaller than ten cm which is what we can do right now. >> let me ask you a small but important budget question.
in your testimony he talked about the assessment risk announcement office which i'm sure you're very proud of and that they have the primary role of checking, signify space craft, et cetera, et cetera. $4 million a year. we know the rest of the things of putting up there are billions of dollars. are we spending enough on that office? >> i think we are. certainly more money is better, but given the risk we are saying to our missions and their ability to assess of those at risk and make determinations from maneuvers as necessary, , i believe were any good position now with the investments we have. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank the judgment. now recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator bridenstine, it's good to see you. a couple questions about the services currently provided.
so the space policy directive reaffirmed the basic collision avoidance information services are and should continue to be provided free of user fees. can you confirm that that is going forward? >> that is a big objective, again because it's important for the united states of america to be preeminent in this capability. and we want companies to locate and the united states deleting that they're going to have these kind of services available through a civil agency. i believe it's important for the safety of the space obama in general. >> as to my constituents. >> okay good. in that same vein, if the government contracts with a a private company to provide space situational awareness functions, in that situation will the data and analytics continue to be available and will broad data be available so that civilian companies could perform their
own analytics? >> that's a wonderful question, and not an easy one, but eventually the way i think it's going to go, there's going to be a basic ss a kind of capability that's available to everybody and it will be without feet with i think is important. but there are also going to be private companies that are going to want to give advantages to other private companies operating in space and it were to provide that advantage they going to license their data to a private company and the u.s. government might not have access to that. that presents an opportunity for commercial companies to augment data and get better resolution, high-resolution, and really in a free market the united states government can't confiscate that daily pics i think there's going to be an architecture that is going to have basic ssa capability and then the will be commercial companies that can come alongside and provide that
the operators, maybe in the model. other people might want to develop sensors and data and sell it directly to the government. that might be a model as a. >> specifically can you address the raw data the government currently gathers? with that raw data be available to private companies? >> it would be available to the public. any government data would be available to the public and of right now that data generally comes from stratcom. >> let me ask you, maybe i should've asked the general, what was the rationale for assigning the department of commerce, not nasa come as the lead civil agency for space situational awareness? >> so nas is an agency that does science and technology. we do discovery, exploration. what we don't do is regulate. that's -- >> i think that's good. i just wanted to get joint record. i agree with that decision. i just wanted to get it. general hyten, space is
designated as a war fighting domain as well as a as a commel domain. where do you see the trend in space controls control sort ofg for dod in space situational awareness? >> it's interesting because as combat command a space it's my joint operating area, i have to come life to players and some people think they conflict. number one is to defend the station against all threats. that means i have to be able to watch any threat, deal with any threat, defeat any threat. i do that. i also have an applied task this is a have to make sure the space environment is safe for the future. anything bad that happens in space, it's not like we talked about cleaning up environment a while ago. it's not like you can go out and clean it up. if you have collision in space, the impacts are forever. there is an applied task that have to operate safely. that's why for the last nine years we've stepped up to the job of providing that for the world.
we will continue to do that until hopefully the department of commerce steps up in the near term to do that for us because it's in our interest as a nation to have a secure space and private. >> i couldn't agree with you more. i think you've done a great job. i hope you continue to have great presence. when i saw the space policy directive number three, what were wanted to fight had a chance to go back and look at that. sbd one was let's go to the moon and mars. sbd two was that streamline the space regulatory environment. now i'm looking at space spd three three and look at all the things that address this. my stats summed that up willfully and they said just make space great again. thank you very much, mr. chairm. i yield back. >> the chair now recognize as mr. foster five minutes. >> take you to our witnesses and congratulations to administrator bridenstine. nice to have you back. i would like it could speak a little bit about how you are doing the international
covenants and enforcement of space commerce. the united states is not alone, i think it's, the rest of the world is roughly a comparable number of orbital devices and that ratio is going to change over time. do you anticipate a future where every country pretty much goes its own way and regulates its own commerce and we are to worry about a race to the bottom for the lowest level of regulation which would be the lowest cost for multinational corporations or do you anticipate that the u.s. regulator will serve underneath every potentially overridden by and international body with regulation over all this activity? >> a a great question, congressman. currently in some orbital regimes the international telecommunications union which is a part of united nations does license orbital slots for the international committee. and, of course, american companies are involved in
getting their orbital slots on the itu. the itu is involved in allocating spectrum for commercial operators so there is already an international component there. maybe at this point it's insufficient is what's happening largely an low-earth orbit with a lot more debris and a whole lot more risk, i should say, and the answer is right nether isn't that kind of international oversight in low-earth orbit the way there is an geostationary orbit. what i would say is i think the direction we should go is we should set the standards. mass has a history doing this. >> but there's the enforcement problem when someone goes to a country that is upsetting those standards can put stuff up in space. who says no and house that enforced? >> it's done through the itu which -- >> look at the south china sea. >> that's right. >> international body clearly
spoke and said that is not an acceptable activity and a certain country that will remain nameless is ignored that. >> so i -- >> when that occurs in space what is the scenario you were thinking of? >> so as a pilot in the navy, i used to operate in the persian gulf and we would get challenged by various countries and they would say you are operating at the wrong part of the world or whatever and would us go back and say under procedure, the international civil aviation organization that we were a sovereign use aircraft operating in international airspace due regard. that word due regard is ultimately what protects us from challenges from the international committee and i would argue as it relates to us right that in space will operate due regard and i would say that as time goes on american leadership minded to be a little stronger here so that ultimately we don't have collisions that beget more collision. >> but what happens when two countries are fighting over mining the same asteroid or things like that?
you know, is or any alternative to international governance organizations, and if there is not, why are we not prioritizing the first to get that structure place and get the u.s. regulators plugged into it? >> i think the model that we utilize right now, and, of course, this is established that the outer space treaty, where speedy many countries are not signatories to the outer space treaty. they have not ratified it. important countries like china, like others you could name. >> sure. certainly that because international pressure to get them to conform to the international standards. >> but so, so is your concept here that u.s. regulation will be secondary to international regulation, or that which is good to go make up our own rules? >> i think we adhere to the treaties that are currently plays, specifically the outer space treaty. as long as we are operating under the obligations of our
international treaties -- >> which are incomplete and will have to be detailed regulations. for example, if you look at some security can do people put up swarms of satellites in ways without enough subsector that ensures they can't be hacked and is there station keeping ability to go and knock out the isis community sinners. there will have to be international standards on for example, cybersecurity, for any satellite with the station keeping ability. okay, and there will be different countries will have different opinions on that. if some countries thinks the your standards are not high enough and we say that's too expensive, how do you anticipate that decision will be handled? >> so as far as your earlier suggestion would remind astrid and maybe someone else wants to mind the same asteroid and that could result in a dispute, i think the odds of that are exceptionally small but but i k also at the same time we can operate due regard and liver
extracts the resource has the right to the resource under the outer space treaty which we're signatories to. >> all right. all right. i guess my times of but i would urge you to think more about the international, the idea that american acting alone is a reasonable model to proceed is not going to work. 50 is enough the majority of objects in orbit not going to be used objects and we're not going to dominate space in the long-term and we should start planning for that and accept rather than just pretending like the world is not changing. >> i would argue that we are in compliance with our obligations under the outer space treaty and other treaties, and that ultimately we will speedy we have to get all the countries honored to do this portable would not be too meaningful. that's the thing that worries me. we had to start by strengthening those agreements and making in uniform. i don't don't see a lot of effort on this administration in
plug into a strong international regulatory regime. >> there isn't a strong international regulatory regime. >> and that should be prioritized. >> we need to american leadership. >> gentleman yield back. that brings us to the conclusion of this hearing. i did want to point out we fed neighbors had to come across so some members may ask questions so we will be the record open for ten days could respond in writing. and also make note of something else. this is a very important area of interest. that's day mr. bayh the fact we had 30 grams of congress anticipate in this joint subcommittee hearing today. combine with if you went outside, two hours before the string, the line started for me to get in here. that usually happens when the chiefs are here or the secretary. people care about what you do and we very proud that we are too competent individuals such as you serving in the roles that you so thank you for being here. it's been very helpful.
[inaudible conversations] >> this week newsmakers interviewed chuck grassley, one of the topics, should form fbi director james comey been subpoenaed to testify before the judiciary committee now that the inspector general report as faulted his handling of aspects of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. >> it was a big department of justice inspector general
report, hearing before your committee. express some displeasure that james comey did not show up, and that he had time for media appearances but not congress. are you going to ask him or perhaps subpoena him to come back to the committee to respond to what these big findings from the inspector general? >> i will want to subpoena him, but in the senate rules of our committee you have to have both senator feinstein and i agree to it, add at this point i can tell you she would agree to it. but if you will, yeah, then we will subpoena. >> and loretta lynch as well? >> yes. >> when do you think a decision will be made on that? >> if senator feinstein tells me, yesterday, that she would do it, we will do it. >> does that also go for compulsory process for andrew mccabe? he requested immunity. >> and that involves a few steps. first of all, feinstein and my agreeing to it, and, of course,
i want to do that and where in some negotiations with her on that point, but then it goes to the justice department to see that it doesn't interfere with any of their potential prosecution, and then getting before us. i think another step that's not so regular is i think we need, and we're working through his lawyers on this, to have a conversation of what he can contribute to our oversight. because if he can't contribute anything substantial, there's no point in going through it. >> but provided that conversation result in a positive outcome you would be recommending immunity grant? >> yes. >> you can see the entire interview with judiciary committee chair chuck grassley friday night at 10 p.m., and on sunday at 10 a.m. and at 6 p.m. on c-span. you can also hear it on c-span radio and watch it online at c-span.org.
>> next, the confirmation hearing for the president's nominees to be u.s. ambassadors to the european union, belgium, zimbabwe and the ambassador to the u.n. for management and reform. each of the nominees spoke about their priorities for the post. the senate foreign relations committee met for one hour 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. this hearing of the senate foreign relations committee will come to order. today we gather to consider or nominations. the honorable brian nichols to be u.s. ambassador to zimbabwe. mr. gordon sunland derby is represented to european union with the rank of ambassador. mr. ronald gidwitz to be u.s. ambassador to belgium and ms. cherith chalet to be the u.s. representative to the united nations are you in management and reform with the rank of ambassador and alternative u.s. representative to the sessions of united nations general assembly. that's a mouthful.